Nassau, Suffolk looking to boost contact tracing hires to stop virus spread, meet reopening requirements

Nassau and Suffolk are working to increase the number of contact tracers to help stop the spread of the virus, and meet state requirements to reopen.

News 12 Staff

May 12, 2020, 9:17 PM

Updated 1,532 days ago

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Nassau and Suffolk are working to increase the number of contact tracers to help stop the spread of the virus, and meet state requirements to reopen.
Ann DeSimone is a contact tracer for Nassau. She used to investigate the transmission of tuberculosis and HIV. She and others at the Nassau Health Department now get notified every time someone tests positive for COVID-19.
The first phone call goes out to the person who tested positive. They then get a list of all of their contacts -- anyone they live or work with. Next, employees at the Health Department Hotline Call Center in Bethpage then follow up and call all of the names provided.
"Most people are very cooperative, some, a very minimal amount, don't want to speak to us," says DeSimone.
Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Larry Eisenstein says some cases are simple if they haven't been out and about. But he says sometimes when someone was part of a big gathering, it can lead to dozens of cases.
Right now, Nassau has 50 contact tracers, but it needs 400 to meet the state's requirement of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says they are working with the state to boost their numbers.
"The contact tracers will follow a state-of-the-art training curriculum that's currently being developed by Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins," says Curran.
In Suffolk, there are currently 230 contact tracers. County Executive Steve Bellone says they are looking to hire 400 to 450.
For those interesting in becoming a contact tracer, click here.
 


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